What does London mean to you?
I think of the Beatles, and “London Bridge is falling down, falling down” and Jack the Ripper and that scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where the dementors are destroying the Millennium Bridge. One of my favorite scenes I’ve ever written is in my guilty-pleasure WIP So I Married a Demon Hunter in which my MC (Katie) stabs a demon in full formal dress on Durward Street in the rain.
I just lost about 30 minutes scrolling through Dean Winchester GIFs and I have no regrets.
I really like London. I had high expectations.
We didn’t land in London (of course) – our ship docked in Southhampton and it was there we bid farewell to the Norwegian Breakaway. She’s a good cruise ship, and I have enjoyed both our journeys on her. From Southhampon we took a similar route that we took from Portland to Winchester two days earlier. We got to drive through New Forest again, but no ponies this time. 🙁
London is another beautiful city. Like Paris, there was clearly a lot of thought put into the city’s architecture and while it’s quite a bit more modern than Paris, it’s still lovely. It’s old and proud of its heritage and I love it.
One of the museums, but I don’t remember which! Near the Albert and Victoria? Possibly is that one? Hellllp.
Unlike our other tours, the bus we took from Southhampton to London was decidedly not crowded. A lot of people were heading to Stonehenge, which I am not interested in. Well, no. I am interested, but I know it’s an insane tourist point and you can’t get anywhere near the monument. So I know better than to waste a whole day hoping to get a bare glimpse on my tiptoes, even though Stonehenge is so cool.
London is a crowded city, though. I feel like it’s one I’d see bettering able to be on foot for bits and pieces. I feel like things went by SO FAST. By the time I located the thing, we’d be past it and no pictures
I am the Queen of Amazing Pictures! … Seriously though, point and fact. I could not take the pictures quickly enough, let alone frame them.
After a while, I sort of gave up. Although, nerd moment – I was just staring down out the window and the tour guide was talking about how this street was men’s clothiers, and the next street was high end women’s clothing and WHOOSH.
Anyone else LOVE this movie?
We went by Huntsman, which is the storefront for Kingsmen tailors in the Kingsman movies. My husband and I love these films (no I haven’t read the graphic novel 🙁 ) and it was SO UNEXPECTED. I didn’t have time to take a picture and by the time I grabbed my husband to point out the storefront, it was out of sight.
Ohmygosh I was so excited. I am such a nerd. And if I had been behind my camera, I would have missed it.
Let that be an object lesson to my fellow photographers – we miss a lot behind our lenses!
Obligatory London Tourist Photo#1.
From the shopping area, we headed towards Trafalgar Square! For some inexplicable reason, I have always wanted to go to Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus? I have absolutely no logical reason for this – I think I just really like the names? Also, there’s a Trafalgar Square in Boston, so it sort of just felt like home.
Spoiler alert: Trafalgar Square in London is far superior to Boston’s? Actually, I’d like to call out MOST the major US cities I’ve been in – what the heck, guys? Where are our statues and obelisks? We have insufficient fountains. DC gets a pass. NYC, I will acknowledge the Statue of Liberty and the Wall Street statues. BUT EVERYWHERE ELSE. GET ON IT. And not just obsolete old generals and colonels and whatnot. CULTURE. Give me something like Funky Bones.
I have been told this lion bites.
As we went through Trafalgar Square, our tour guide told us that we should definitely never climb the lions. So, naturally, I want to go back and climb the lions.
She said that hundreds of people hurt themselves trying to get cool Snapchats and whatnot on the lions. I can see why someone would think that’s a super cool idea, but smooch of me squirms to think that people are climbing all over the art. Don’t climb on statues, guys? If there are no zombies trying to eat you, you’re safe on the ground. Sit in front of the lion and pretend he’s eating your head or something.
Trafalgar Square is quite lovely, though lots of construction? The fountain was bubbling and pretty too. I liked it.
Obligatory London Tourist Photo #2.
After Trafalgar Square ,we made our way toward the Tower of London. On the way there, we passed the Sherlock Holmes, which is a famous pub. Hopefully everyone knows this, but it was named for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes. And it’s more than a bar. Upstairs, there’s a gorgeous recreation of Sherlock and Watson’s quarters. Old school, not Benedict Cumberbatch – sorry guys.
Confession: I had no idea why this was exciting short of the name and had to do some Googling when I got home.
At the Tower of London, we were given an hour to go do whatever. For us, this meant food and souvenirs! Some people flocked try and do a Tower of London tour, but we knew we wouldn’t have time, and besides… we weren’t sure if we would get an opportunity to eat again before the continental breakfast the next morning Iceland.
So I went and found a french chain sandwich shop and had a croquet monsieur and some chocolate beignets and the were delicious. I figured they would be, since I’ve had both before, but I did not enjoy the french food provided on the Paris boat cruise the day before and, well, I wanted beignets.
My husband wanted more fish and chips.
Look at that great big smile. I’d feed him fish and chips every day to make him that happy.
He was so happy about the fish and chips. Fish and chips in England is apparently The Best Thing Ever. I can’t eat fish, but I’m glad he was so happy!
Oh, and I made Matt take a picture of me to prove I actually went places.
I AM A REAL PERSON! With soooo many things in my coat pockets, lol.
Aside: I hate pictures of me! Even my wedding pictures. I’m so awkward, and I’m really particular about the framing of portraits and my husband isn’t great at it. I made him take about 30 pictures before there was an acceptable one, haha. I’m a frustrating person to travel with.
I could have happily sat in that Tower plaza for hours and read a book and just hung out and watched the birds and tourists. I loved it there.
Once we were all back on the bus, we headed to the Big Tourist Spots!
Aaaand I found out that Westminster Palace and Big Ben tower are under renovation, and will be for several years!
Actually, the scaffolding made for an interesting picture. Still… :'(
I definitely need to go back to London because I would love to see this legendary sight scaffold-free! I’ve read Peter Pan enough to be in love with Big Ben tower. I’d love a proper picture of the clock, and I wasn’t able to get one, sadly. I did get to glimpse the clock face, but… not the same. Fortunately, the London tour was a very last minute decision, so I didn’t have my heart set on it the way I was looking forward to, say, the Eiffel Tower.
We drove past Westminster Abbey as well, but didn’t stop to go inside or anything. That’s another revisit point as well!
After Winchester Cathedral, I can only IMAGINE how stunning it is inside here.
Finally, because nobody was in a hurry (most people were going to hotels, and the handful of us heading to the airport had flights after 8pm), we were able to swing close to Buckingham Palace as well! We couldn’t go in, and we couldn’t get very close as Her Majesty was in residence, but that was pretty cool!
When I buy a house, I’m getting pretty gold-gilded gates.
I did not watch the Royal Wedding, so I felt I can safely say that I do not closely follow the Royal Family, but I quite like them all. They just seem like such lovely people. I particularly like the Duchess of Cambridge, but I have so much happiness and respect for the new Duchess of Sussex as well! She’s made history in the Royal Family, and I’m so proud and happy for her.
I think I like the Royal Family because you sort of feel like they’re all these lovely role models who you can’t quite relate to, but you do politely admire. The presidential family should be like that too, but somehow we don’t have that glamor (I wonder why. -_-) (okay no more politics).
From Buckingham Palace, we headed out of the city and toward Heathrow.
Then it got a bit unreal.
Because we beginning our journey home.
Wow, so, only one more of these left!
Iceland will be quick, as I wasn’t able to take many pictures. It’s so, so beautiful, though! I’ll talk about that more next week!
For those of you just joining in, the Transatlantic Cruise 2018 series outlines my adventures in Western Europe this spring. I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Azores, Ireland, two different parts of England, France, and Iceland. It was a huge bucket list trip for me and absolutely stunning (and exhausting). If you haven’t been to Western Europe, goooooo!